Analysis Of The Speech Act Theory

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The speech act theory was first proposed by a British linguist John Austin in 1962 and was further developed by another John, John R. Searle in 1969. Austin characterized a speech act is an utterance performed by a speaker’s intention and its effect which may lead to the hearer. The utterance may convey different communication intentions, such as requesting, warning, stating, questioning and so-on (Searle 1985). In Austin’s framework, speech act could be analyzed in three levels. Locutionary is what was said, illocutionary is what was meant and perlouctionary is what was happened as a result. And the speech act of promise which this paper will mainly shed light on is an illocutionary act. Few years after Austin’s publication of the speech act theory, Searle has further extended and developed the criteria of the illocutionary actor promising. He stated nine conditions which are necessary and sufficient in order to establish the reliability of a promise. According to Searle, a speech act need to be performed in an appropriate condition to make it a success one. Those appropriate conditions are called felicity conditions, which function as the rules under the performative can be enacted. For the speech act of promising, nine conditions are listed to be necessary by Searle. In the following paragraphs, three of those conditions will be discussed in detail and evidence will be provided to prove their necessity. Promising is ubiquitous in everyday lives. But what kind of
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